“De-Nile Isn’t Just a River in Egypt”: When Michael Jordan Got Told How to Deal With Feeling “Not Good Enough” on National TV for SNL in 1991

Published 02/06/2023, 6:10 AM EST

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In the early 90s, Chicago Bulls legend Michael Jordan was one of the most popular celebrities in the US sports world. Broadcasting companies and interview hosts lined up to invite the NBA superstar to their shows, but the scenario wasn’t the same for one interviewer. In a 1991 interview, the host pretended to be unaware of MJ’s dominance on the hardwood and engaged in a quick therapy session with him, leaving the audience bursting into laughter. 

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Jordan began his rookie season in 1984 with the Bulls and went on to win the NBA Rookie of the Year award. Moreover, MJ caught the attention of the NBA world with his inspiring performances and prowess on the court. He eventually fulfilled the fans’ expectations by clearing the championship drought for the Chicago side in 1991. Since then, there was no looking back for ‘His Airness’ as he led his side to two three-peats in the decade.

Michael Jordan received therapy on live TV

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In 1991, Michael Jordan joined in a hilarious episode of Daily Affirmation hosted by Stuart Smalley (Al Franken) on ‘Saturday Night Live’. Franken played the character of a caring nurturer who was unaware of Michael Jordan’s NBA career. Smalley, sticking to his character, went on to embarrass himself by giving the legend an affirming speech on dealing with competition.

He said, “Night before the game, you must lie awake thinking, ‘I am not good enough, everybody is better than me, I am not gonna score any points,’” MJ politely replied, “Well, not really”. 

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Smalley immediately replied, “Michael, De-Nile ain’t just a river in Egpyt,” leaving the audience in splits. The host further made Jordan look into a mirror and make an affirmative speech on how it is okay to be an imposter.  Throughout the entire segment, it brought smiles to the faces of all in the audience. 

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Another of MJ’s hilarious interviews

In a 1997 interview on Rosie O’Donnell’s show, O’Donnell befouled MJ on camera. She asked about MJ’s plan after his retirement. Before Jordan began to speak, she interrupted, “Not golf, don’t do golf Michael… It’s so boring, I hate it,” leaving the audience in splits. The Bulls legend continued nodding his head with a smile.

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Watch This Story – Did Michael Jordan Play In 1994? Was Shaquille O’Neal The Last Player To Beat MJ In The NBA Playoffs?

What did you make of the funny Michael Jordan interview from 1991? Let us know in the comments below. 

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Written by:

Shahul Hameed

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Shahul Hameed is an NBA writer at EssentiallySports. He holds a Master's degree in Journalism and Mass Communication and has previously worked as a contributor at an online news site. Shahul has always shared a keen interest in journalism, starting off as a reporter for his college news journal.
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Edited by:

Veer Badani

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